The Saga of
Otto the Trabi
1974 P601 Sedan
Hi! My name is Erich and first of all... WELCOME to TrabantUSA! I started this little internet home for North American Trabant owners and enthusiasts back in 2001 with no clue about how large it would become. As the site and membership has mushroomed it has almost grown beyond my ability to manage and has required a few edits and changes to keep it functioning with the generous limitations that free Geocities websites have in terms of size.
Well, let's see. I bought Otto back in 1999 while still living in East Germany. I rescued him from the "soon to be recycled" lot behind The Renault Dealership in Zerbst/Anhalt. I had previously bought a Trabi from the same dealership years earlier, which took them as trade-ins on new Renaults, so the owner knew what I wanted as I approached him on the sales floor. "Here to finally buy a REAL car?" he jokingly asked. I laughed back and then we got down to business. After I had test driven it around the parking lot I decided that I wanted the blue (my Otto) as my "keeper" and a second severely rusted beige one for parts. When the dust settled we had agreed upon a mutually acceptable price....100,-DM cash or.....about $40 ....for both!
One Year Later....
May of 2000: After having lived in East Germany, Hungary and pre-war Jugoslavija since I was 18 years old, I made the decision, based upon political instability & the worsening economic crisis, to re-emmigrate to the USA.
I knew that from a practical standpoint I would need a car in the US and quickly realized that it would be far less expensive to simply ship my already nearly mint-condition Trabi to America than to sell it in East Germany for mere pennies and have to buy another car once in America. In preparation, I happily spent $400 for a brand-new engine (installed) and made arrangements with a Norwegian Freight line to ship him from Bremerhaven, W-Germany to The Port of Galveston, Texas. The shipping at that time cost me a reasonable $640 and took about 2 weeks. I then waited 3 weeks, flew to nearby Houston, Texas....took a bus to Galveston Island and took delivery of my still pristine Trabi after paying a $60 Port Fee..
Well that was in May of 2000. I drove my Trabi in Austin, Texas as my ONLY vehicle for the first 2 years after my move to The USA. I then made a temporary move to Arkansas where after 3 or 4 months I decided to give the poor guy a break and bought a Chevy Tracker and allowed Otto to retire gracefully as my second car or...hobby. I currently live in Springfield, Missouri where I bought a small turn-of-the-century bungalow and work part-time in a local hospital as a Behavioral Health Technician while working on the house and playing with my Trabant.
And Otto? Otto moved to Indiana in November 2009. Have a look at Eric Allen (Member 8), Otto is doing well in the new home
(My first Trabi)
Otto at Burg Eisenhardt in Belzig . 2000
Otto off-roading inside the Soviet Army base at Juteborg, East Germany. 1999
Austin, Texas (Hyde Park) 2001
Austin, Texas (Hyde Park) 2001